They say that when you lose something, you always find it in the last place you look. But if you don’t even know what you are looking for, this can seem like an impossible task. If someone has passed away and you believe that there are life insurance policies purchased in your name but have no further information, you may want to search for those policies. You may have very little information to work with, not even knowing which insurance company it might be with, how much it is worth or whether it is still in force. The possibility that such policies might have major cash values can be a good incentive to try to track them down.
The regulation of insurance in Canada is not centralized, so there is no single source of information on polices and policy holders. Navigating through the system to find lost life insurance policies can be difficult. The same is true for disability, critical illness, and long-term care policies.
Of course, the first place to search is in the papers and files of the deceased person. If that reveals nothing, then you may want to use a locator service. They may be able to find something out, but the odds are still fairly low. The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance will help find a lost policy among the insurance providers in Canada for a fee of $75. However, if you think there are policies floating around out there, the fee could be a good investment.
If ultimately you are able to find out which insurance company a policy is with, then you must contact them. If in the case of an old policy the insurer no longer exists, the policy may now be held by some other insurance company. You may want to ask your own insurance broker for help as to which companies may now hold the policy.
Note that if a policy’s dividends were not set up to cover the premiums, then the policy may have already lapsed and there is nothing to collect. However, if the dividends were covering premiums, there indeed might be a windfall in store for you.